This is quite a different beast from Ed Harcourt's Mercury Prize nominated debut 'Here Be Monsters' in 2001 or his more recent 2016 album 'Furnaces' for Polydor. Fans of his plaintive singing voice may be disappointed as there are no vocals whatsoever.
Instead, his eighth album comprises twelve piano-led instrumentals with a quiet, contemplative atmosphere deliberately conceived as an antidote to the crazy, mixed up world we live in. Harcourt explains: "This record came from taking a step back – it’s something that’s trying to be beautiful. My hope is that people might choose to swim amongst this music when it all gets too much”
Written and recorded at his ‘Wolf Cabin’ studio in Oxfordshire, Harcourt plays a 1910 Hopkinson Baby Grand piano and taps into the classical music of Debussy and Mozart he grew up listening to as well as modern composers like Max Richter, Philip Glass and Arvo Part. Warren Ellis and Nick Cave’s score for The Assassination Of Jesse James was also a big influence.
Accompanied occasionally by wife Gita Langleyn on violin and Amy Langley on cello, the overall mood is calm and reflective with tracks dedicated For My Father and For My Mother emphasizing the fact that these as tunes from the heart.
Only the title of the final tune Whiskey Held My Sleep To Ransom suggests a more troubled domesticity but this proves as melodic and meditative as the tracks that precede it.
Harcourt wanted beautiful and that's exactly what he delivers.
Ed Harcourt's website